Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Could Have Saved The Towing Charge

A commenter explained how I could have avoided getting a tow the other day when the alternator failed in the motorhome. He says that since the generator charges the engine battery as well as the house battery, I could have simply run the generator and driven the rig to the shop. 

Too late for me this time but everyone take note if this should ever happen to you.

Some other comments tell me to make sure the alternator is shielded from water spray and point out that rebuilt alternators are much cheaper than the brand new Ford product supplied by the dealer. They never told me a cheaper alternative existed and I never asked. I might have been able to save myself two or three hundred dollars. You have to know what to ask!

The tow did not cost me anything as I have AAA  “Plus RV” Road Service, but in talking to the driver it appears their charge is $4.50 per mile so the almost hundred mile tow would have been very expensive if I had to pay for it. Well, I pay for it anyway as the dues for the AAA are around $150 per year and this is the first time I have used it in many years.

We are off on a road trip to Taos to see the sights there. The alternator is supposed to be at the shop by 10:00 AM tomorrow so with any luck the rig will be ready by noon.


  1. Personally, I prefer to pay for new parts unless I really trust the mechanic since rebuilt parts really vary in quality. (Here's a good article on the subject: No sense saving $200 now only to have to go through the process again in a couple of years because a shady mechanic got you a 'spray and pray' rebuilt.

  2. Actually Rae, even a very trustworthy mechanic would have no idea whether or not a rebuilt alternator would be of good quality or not. The vast majority of rebuilt parts are as good as OEM. As your referenced article states, rebuilt parts have a failure rate approximately the same as new OEM parts. Given the choice, the savings by buying a rebuilt part makes good economic sense, especially given the price difference.

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